January 1, 2010

"Hey Bulldog"

"Hey Bulldog" is a song by The Beatles which first appeared on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album in 1969. Written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon/McCartney), the song was recorded during the filming of the "Lady Madonna" promotional video, and is one of the few Beatles songs to revolve around a piano riff. (source)

During the recording, Paul McCartney started to bark without warning. The next lines, initially written as "Hey Bullfrog", were changed mid-song to "Hey Bulldog". This became the song's title. (source) Geoff Emerick, the Beatles' engineer, would subsequently claim this was the last song the band recorded that featured a team dynamic with enthusiasm from every member. When the group reconvened in the studio in May 1968 for the The Beatles sessions, their group cohesion had already been undermined by the business, artistic, and personal differences that would culminate in their eventual breakup. (source) During these sessions, a film crew photographed the four Beatles recording the song. It was one of the few times they allowed themselves to be extensively filmed recording in the Abbey Road studios, for a promotional film to be released during their scheduled four-month retreat to India (which was later edited together as a promotional film for the single "Lady Madonna"). (source) The song was used in an animated segment of the Yellow Submarine film which initially appeared only in European theatrical prints. It was restored and seen for the first time in 30 years for the film's 1999 re-release. To promote the reissue, Apple went back to the original footage shot for the "Lady Madonna" promo film and restructured it for use as a promotional clip for "Hey Bulldog" (as it is possible to identify what they were playing, and therefore possible to synchronize the music with the original footage). (source)


Gunnar and Sherry said...

I always thought that was one of the most overlooked great Beatle tunes of all time. Such a great rock riff. I've never seen the sequence in Yellow Submarine, so I guess i should rent it!

Happy New Year!

Chris said...

Happy New Year, Gunnar and Sherry. It rocks. A little bit like "And Your Bird Can Sing," with a similar great guitar riff. It is overlooked, though, partially due to its being cut from Yellow Submarine.

Anonymous said...

Even if McCartney only contributed 5 or 10 percent of the song (the barking, the signing off on the lyrics ["good, John" or whatever]), that 5 or 10 percent may mark the difference between very good and excellent. I'm sorry to see you fall into the trap, common now at wiki, of saying, "It was written by John (or Paul) but credited to Lennon/McCartney."